empowering Latinas Natinal Hispanic Leadership Institute

Deborah Aguiar-Velez empowering Latinas toward financial independence

By Guest Contributor Cristina Abreu

Deborah Aguiar-Velez, empowering Latinas

Deborah Aguiar-Velez, founder of Sistemas Corporation

Life often is full of joy, happiness, challenges, and sadness. Through it all, life also has a wonderful way of creating pathways that cross for very deliberate and meaningful reasons. For so many of us, we were given the blessing of crossing paths with Deborah Aguiar-Vélez.

A brilliant mind and a loving soul, Deborah finds herself in that part of life’s journey that could be laden with tears and sadness. In Deborah’s life, despite the reality of facing stage 4 lung cancer, she is filling her days with love, hope, and a staunch message that life is worth living.

She has always drawn people to her and in this phase of her journey many from around the nation are flying in to Charlotte, North Carolina to pay their respects to this very special Boricua. She is preparing for the next chapter of her journey just how she has prepared for any other major project, in a pragmatic, loving, insightful way.

You see, Deborah is an engineer by training and a very successful business woman. She is also a loving wife and mother of two beautiful and talented women.

Deborah earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with honors from the University of Puerto Rico. In 1983 she established her own company Sistemas Corporation. The company, provides customized software and training for engineers, scientists and technical personnel for clients such as ExxonMobil, Baxter, BASF, Xerox and Colgate-Palmolive.

empowering Latinas

Deborah with her husband German and daughters Cristina and Raquel

Deborah promotes financial independence as an engine for growth

According to Nielsen’s 2013 Latina Power Shift report, Latinas are the growth engine of the U.S. female population and are expected to represent 30 percent of the total female population by 2060, while the non-Hispanic white female population is expected to drop to 43 percent.

Nielsen’s Monica Gil shares that, Latinas are “ambicultural, technologically-savvy, and a growing economic engine”. With 86 percent of Latina women Nielsen surveyed leading the big purchasing decisions in households, including cars and homes; times are changing and economic power is shifting. “Latinas are a youthful demographic – 60% are under the age of 35–, and are increasingly adapting to all types of technology at a higher pace than other U.S. women”, Gil says.

We met Deborah in 2009 in a national Latina executive leadership program, the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI). In our first weekend together, strangers became sisters – hermanas. Deborah, the most successful business woman in the group, immediately volunteered to present a session on financial savviness. We were all grateful to hear her very practical advice. The message was simple, Latinas need to be financially independent. We need to save more. Money is power.

Making an impact in other people’s lives

A woman of faith, Deborah believes she has been given a gift to know she has a short time left. She is using it wisely, sharing with others her journey and allowing friends to travel from all over to say goodbye. She says she is very surprised at all the people that are reaching out from the past and would never have guessed the impact she made on so many. This has made her realize that every person matters, that we are all able to touch people’s lives directly and indirectly, that we matter to one another — no matter how long ago we met.

We are grateful to have met Deborah Aguiar-Vélez. She has left an indelible mark on us and so many across the United States through both her professional and personal endeavors. With pride, we celebrate Deborah and the legacy she created through her life’s work. As her hermanas we commit to share Deborah’s message on her birthday each year on the need to save and become financially independent. Thank you Deborah for your empowering message, you are loved, respected, and will not be forgotten.

empowering Latinas Natinal Hispanic Leadership Institute

National Hispana Leadership Institute Executive Leadership (NHLI) Program Class 2009. Deborah with fellow NHLI hermanas. announces its 2016 Best Business Awards

We will Live Stream the 2016 Best Business Awards on our Facebook Page: on November 29 starting at 7:30 pm. Watch the competition and the final awards ceremony! This is an event you cannot miss!, the digital platform that advocates for Latina entrepreneurs, is announcing the 2016 Best Business Awards winners!


At, we feel so blessed and grateful and truly excited for the response and support we are having in our first solo event! It is hard to provide all the details in just one post!  Supporters are showing up and our Latinas have responded with incredible gestures of cooperation and presence. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We want also to recognize all the people who made a mark in our publication during this year 2016. Without them, our work would have been almost impossible. Here are the winners of the 2016 Best Business Awards:


Life Time Supporter

2016 Best Business Awards

Luis O De La Hoz

Luis O De la Hoz, Vice Chairman @SHCCNJ Vice President @IntersectFund Chair #FNHCNJ Top Digital Influencer #Latism2016

In his own words, “I help non-for-profit organizations in how to reach the Latino Small Business Owner market. Latino business owners prefer an advisor who is specifically trained or certified in helping small businesses, speaks their language of preference and is involved in the community.”

In addition to being a “Padrino” in our Editorial Advisory Board, Luis has been a constant supporter and an invaluable friend of our platform. In fact, Luis has been with since its inception, encouraging our initiative and being part of its mission. Nobody deserves a place at the 2016 Best Business Awards more than Luis!
Gracias siempre!


Read this story: Madrinas and Padrinos Editorial Advisory Board


Most Read Story – Original feature

Deborah Aguiar-Velez, empowering Latinas

Deborah Aguiar-Velez,

Deborah Aguiar-Velez, founder, president and owner of Sistemas Corporation

Back in July of this year, Cristina Abreu, a team member at Nielsen, contacted us to offer a feature contribution. She believed Deborah was more than deserving of a national recognition for her leadership role in advocating for Latina entrepreneurs and their important place in our economy. They met at the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI). In their first weekend together, strangers became sisters – hermanas.

An accomplished engineer and businesswoman, Deborah was nationally recognized for innovative leadership in the areas of entrepreneurship, technical development and public service. She was also a member of the 2013 HITEC 100, which is a list of the top 100 most influential and notable Hispanic Professionals in the Information Technology Industry.


Read this story: Deborah Aguiar-Velez empowering Latinas toward financial independence

Most Shared on Social Media Story – Original feature

Matilsha Marxuach, AccessLatina finalist

Matilsha Marxuach, AccessLatina finalist


Shop con Calma, Matilsha Marxuach, Founder and Designer

Matilsha Marxuach is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, who has made a name for herself. With a background in Design and Fashion, Matilsha has been on a dual mission- promoting her creations while generating employment for others.

Located away from the posh hotels selling purses and bags at exorbitant prices, Matilsha’s Concalma store has bags that can match any budget. In addition, her bags are environmentally friendly and look immaculate. The artistic bags are made of cotton with nylon liners and all the fabric is exclusively acquired from Puerto Rico suppliers.


Read this story: Latina entrepreneur brings best crafts of Puerto Rico to fair trade designs


Most Read Contributor – Original feature

Rosa M Mollo, Intercultural Communications coach and Change Facilitator

Rosa M Mollo

Rosa M Mollo, Intercultural Communications Coach and Change Facilitator

Rosa is a communications therapist known for her core “3 Cs,” the tripod of her passions: Communications, Culture, and Change. These areas of expertise are the culmination of over twenty years of international experience as a foreign affairs correspondent, key manager positions as News Bureau Chief in the US, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, and a strong history embodying change as a positive catalyst for operational efficiency. Before moving to the US, she was one of the most trusted and influential voices of TVE, the Public Spanish Broadcasting Corporation.




Read this story:  Latinas brand identity and the power of your Hispanic accent

Rising Leader

Carolina Robles New Yrok Life

Carolina E Robles

Carolina E Robles, Director of Recruiting at New York Life Insurance Company; Founder, L.I.F.T (Leaders Initiative for Tomorrow) Empowering Lives

At only 26 years of age, Carolina Robles obtained a position as the Director of Recruiting Prospecting and Developing Talent at New York Life Insurance Company, managing talent acquisition for all the offices in the state of New Jersey. She recruits entrepreneurial candidates who are interested in a career in Insurance and Financial Services.

She launched L.I.F.T (Leaders Initiative for Tomorrow) Empowering Lives, a new personal initiative to lead and empower passionate individuals and help them reach their full potential while inspiring them to create leadership opportunities for young professionals.

She was fortunate to invite a co-founder, Wendy Perez, and two wonderful professionals that added tremendous value to her team. Thanks to her vision, LIFT Empowering Lives is a 501 (c3) organization with the mission to bring awareness to new leaders for a better tomorrow.


Read this story: Carolina Robles a leadership rising star on getting out of your comfort zone

Best Business Pitch – Winner of the Pitch your Business competition 2016 Best Business AwardsOur annual event will include a Pitch your Business to Media Competition, a fantastic opportunity for only six Latina business owners who would present their products or services in front of a Panel of Media Experts and compete for the opportunity to become the 2016 Best Business Pitch winner. See who they are and be there to cheer for them!

Read their stories: announces its Pitch your Business competition


2016 Best Business Awards sold out almost 2 weeks in advance!

We are very excited, as I said, for the support and interest we received in our first solo event. We sold out almost two weeks in advance but do not worry if you were not able to find a ticket!

We will Live Stream the 2016 Best Business Awards on our Facebook Page: on November 29 starting at 7:30 pm. Watch the competition and the final awards ceremony! This is an event you cannot miss!